Contrasting fortunes for basketball teams

  • 2007-09-06
  • By Mike Collier
SEVILLE - After weeks of media hype and sponsor advertising, Latvia's involvement in the European Basketball championships, Eurobasket2007, came to an anticlimactic end Sep. 5 with the team losing to unfancied Portugal and bowing out of the tournament in the first round.

Hopes had been high when Latvia won a pre-tournament warm-up contest and then beat an accomplished Croatian team in their first match, but subsequent defeats to both Spain and Portugal with lackluster performances put a premature end to Latvia's involvement.

Immediately following the 77-67 defeat against Portugal, chief coach Karlis Muiznieks resigned from the position he has held for four years, assuming full responsibility for team's poor showing. The coach said that the team's "targets were much higher than the ones reached."

"We did not lack much to get in to the second round," Muiznieks said. "We should not have underestimated Portugal, that qualified for the final tournament from a very strong qualification tournament group, and thus it was not a bad team," said Latvian coach.

In contrast, Lithuania, the other Baltic representatives at the tournament, are on a hot streak and are yet to lose a game. Wins against Germany, Turkey and the Czech Republic saw them finish top of their group and book a place in the second round of the competition.